You've probably heard that eating flaxseed meal is beneficial to your health. It's also good for your dog. The nutrients and fatty acids in these seeds have been shown to provide many of the same benefits to your furry friend as they do to you. So if your pup's coat is a little lackluster or his joints are a bit stiff, ask your vet if you can try adding flaxseed to his diet.
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Flaxseeds are rich in vitamins, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants called lignans. If your dog isn't getting enough of these nutrients, you can add flaxseed to your buddy's food. Flaxseeds must be ground to digest properly. The oil in the seeds can turn rancid, so either buy treated flaxseed meal, which will slow spoilage, or grind the seeds daily to sprinkle over your dog's food. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate amount to feed.
If your pup's coat is dull and his skin is dry and itchy, he might not be getting enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, supplementing with ground flaxseed should bring softness and shine to his coat and alleviate the itchy skin. Antioxidant lignans support the immune system and help treat inflammation, arthritic pain and chronic inflammatory disorders. Flaxseed is high in protein and amino acids, which promote strong bones and muscle growth; both soluble and insoluble fiber to protect your pet's digestive system; and vitamin E, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 to maintain overall health.
By Gayle Rodcay
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effects of Dietary Flax Seed and Sunflower Seed Supplementation on Normal Canine Serum Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Skin and Hair Coat Condition Scores
Modern Dog Magazine: 10 "People" Foods for Dogs
peteducation.com: Omega Fatty Acids: Sources, Effects, and Therapeutic Uses in Dogs
About the Author
With a Bachelor of Arts in technical communications from Colorado State University, Gayle Rodcay has spent over 18 years editing and writing for various technical publications. In 2009, she launched a freelance writing career. Before embarking on her writing career, Rodcay was a certified veterinary technician and uses her animal and health knowledge in her freelance writing efforts.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.